Commuter and TDM (Transportation Demand Management) Solutions
The Convention Store (TCS) currently operates numerous programs designed to assist with transportation demand management (TDM). These operations are based in separate counties in Virginia and operate independently, but together include eleven retail outlets, two mobile commuter stores, one distribution and fulfillment center and two call centers. All of these operations are run for local government agencies and are obtained through a competitive request for proposal (RFP) process.
Arlington County: Commuter Stores, Commuter Information Center (home to CommuterDirect.com and 228-RIDE), Mobile Commuter Stores and Distribution Center.
Fairfax County: Connector Stores and Fairfax Telephone Information Center.
Maryland: Odenton MARC Train, Frederick MARC Train
Arlington County VA. Commuter Stores
The Convention Store has been the operator of all Commuter Stores and played an integral role in each of these operations’ start-up beginning in 1995. Those stores include Crystal City (1995), Ballston and Rosslyn (1997), Mobile Commuter Stores (2002) and Shirlington (2005).
TCS is responsible for the complete management and operation of all Commuter Stores and support for the sale of all local transit and rail provider fare media including Virginia Railway Express, MARC Train, MTA Commuter Bus, MetroBus and MetroRail, Fairfax Connector, Ride-On. Additional responsibilities include fare media and revenue controlling, accounting for transit ticket sales, inventory control and satisfying all reporting requirements for Arlington County. The Mobile Commuter Stores travel around the region providing the same services that the Commuter stores offer by setting up operations in parking lots, government facilities, shopping malls and also participating in special events.
The Commuter Stores are part of Arlington County’s Commuter Services Program (ACCS) with the overall objective to reduce the number of Single Occupant Vehicles (SOV) used in the region. Involving and informing the commuting public in ride-sharing programs, alternate means of commuting, (other than the SOV) by maximizing the use of existing public transportation, biking, walking, carpooling, vanpooling and private transit systems is the number one goal. The anticipated rewards for this program include the reduction of vehicular emissions and traffic, preservation of our natural resources and the creation of a cleaner environment. Other benefits of this program include enhancing Arlington County’s position as a business center by reducing the need for parking spaces thus curtailing traffic congestion and assisting Arlington-based businesses in addressing employee commuting issues. As a resource to the commuting public, The Commuter Stores provide an attractive and convenient facility in which the public can purchase mass transit tickets, as well as receive commuter information for all local transit alternatives. The family of Commuter Stores firmly believes in the fact that “Easy Commutes Begin Here” and we strive to make every customer’s experience a positive one.
Arlington County VA Commuter Information Center & CommuterDirect.com
The Convention Store worked with Arlington County to create the Commuter Information Center (CIC) in 1997. The intent of the CIC was to be a telephone information center that also had a ticket-by-mail component. The ticket-by-mail component that was created is CommuterDirect.com, CommuterDirect.com presently sells over $50MM in fare media each year to over 23,000 individual commuters as well as 70+/- companies each month. This is handled by a direct ticket-by-mail, internet based program that has evolved over the years to include VRE, MARC, MTA Commuter Bus as well as other local and regional transportation agencies. During this time, The Convention Store has been the sole operator of the Commuter Information Center. Another key aspect of the CIC is the call center operation that handle all of the calls for 703-228-RIDE (7433). Monthly call volume averages 8,000 calls per month, with some rare months increasing to 40,000 or more when special programs or incentives are in the marketplace. This call center handles all of the customer service phone calls for the Arlington Transit (ART) bus service.
Fairfax County, VA. Connector Stores
Since the Connector Stores inception in 1999, The Convention Store has and continues to manage the operations of all Five Connector Stores in Fairfax County: Tyson’s West-Park Transit Station, Franconia/Springfield Metro station, Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, Reston Town Center and Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride.
In this capacity, TCS provides personnel and support for the sale of bus and rail transit fare media, SmarTrip Cards, SmarTrip reloading, EZ flex and EZ passes and other fare media. Other services offered; providing bus and rail schedules, state trip planning for local, in state, or out of state, transit options (bus, rail, van pool etc) and all other commuting information. Additional responsibilities include fare media and revenue controlling, accounting for transit ticket sales, inventory control and satisfying all reporting requirements for Fairfax County.
In order to run the operation efficiently, The Convention Store has developed operation procedures, and manuals to insure each Connector Store location operates in a uniformed fashion. Additionally, our employees assist the county in coordinating both personnel and training for transit related special events, and provide concierge service at hubs when major bus routes are changed.
Fairfax County, VA. (TIC) Telephone Information Center
The Convention Store was awarded the Fairfax TIC contract on February 2014. The call center is located in Northern VA making firsthand knowledge of Fairfax Co. and the surrounding metropolitan areas a high priority. As a testament to the existing TIC staff already in place, the Convention Store retained 50% of those employees. This made a smooth transition for the Connector bus riders, and the contract expectations. With 70% of our agents bilingual we are also able to address the needs of the Hispanic communities at any time.
The Telephone Information Center (TIC) fields on average, 8,000 calls monthly regarding the Fairfax Connector buses, trip planning, bus arrivals and departures, lost & found, general complements, complaints, suggestions and many other issues.
With a state of the art phone system, daily, weekly or monthly reporting, and individual staff reports, make accuracy in reporting quick and seamless. Remote features provide an uninterrupted operation from the office, home or other locations.
Distribution and Logistics (DLS) Division
Another success has been the Distribution and Logistics division (DLS) for Arlington County Commuter Services Program (ACCS) which was crafted, and continues to be managed by the Convention Store.
The primary role of DLS is to oversee the movement and security of both Fare Media and brochures from location to location, and adjoining counties. A secondary role of DLS is to provide the County with assistance on various projects that may arise. Many of these projects arise from the Transit division and involve signage installation, signage maintenance, along both ART routes and Metrobus routes within the County and various other duties as requested by the County.
As needed, DLS is used as a sub-contractor to complete certain jobs that are outside of their typical scope of work. Examples of these jobs are periodic bus shelter cleanings, new bus route pole installations and hi-tech signage installations. During these unique jobs, DLS will work with the County and the sub-contractors to ensure that the requested work is done safely and properly.